Here are some simple little-known hacks to make your summer BBQs really stand out!

 Ice makes your burger even better

Simply placing ice chips in a dimple in the middle of your burger will stop the patty from drying out and losing the wonderful meaty juiciness of the burger. Even better, add a pat of butter, it does the same job, and who doesn’t love a bit of butter on their burger?

Don’t become a grill scrubber

To save yourself time and a LOT of effort, aluminum foil is your new best friend. All you have to do is: 1) make sure the grates are warm as this will help the grime brush off easily; 2) crumple a sheet of foil the size of your grates into a ball; 3) using tongs/hands and some good old-fashioned elbow grease, grip the ball of foil and give the grates a good scrub; 4) after cleaning, spray the grates with cooking oil to maintain a non-stick exterior and keep them from rusting. If you prefer to clean the organic way, Onions are natural disinfectants, so if your special grill cleaning brush is out of reach (or you simply don’t have one), cut an onion in half and rub it on the surface of the grates.

Potato starch is magic

To prevent the frustrating grill-stick problem, you need to treat your grill surface and make it non-stick. But how? Well, all you need is a potato cut in half, a fork and a grill. Stab the fork in so the potato’s fleshy side faces out and rub, rub, rub back and forth on the hot grill several times – you should hear a sizzling sound and, hey presto, your non-stick grill is ready.

You can smoke your food without a smoker…

You can easily achieve a smoker finish with your average grill by making a “smoker pouch” out of strong, heavy aluminum foil. All you need to do is fold the foil into a makeshift envelope, add soaked chips (that aren’t dripping wet) and fold the pouch up tight. Poke a couple of air holes into the foil to let the smoke out and then put the pack under the grill grate on top of your burner. And there you have it, you have a portable smoker.

Fish and citrus complement each other

Worried about your fish sticking to the grill? Place your fish on top of either lemons or limes before and during grilling to stop this happening. And the citrus fruit really gives it an added edge.

Cut your hot dogs into spirals

This neat trick is ever so easy to do and you’ll enjoy some nice and crispy hot dogs too. Not only that, your condiments will stick to those perfect sausages. All you have to do is poke a long wooden skewer through the centre of the sausage, hold a knife at a slight angle all the way down to the skewer as you roll the dog away from you, cut all the way to the edge, pull out the skewer and you’re ready.

Keeping the pests away

To keep those bugs off your cooked food all you need to do is place cloves on your table. Cloves are basically dried aromatic flower buds of a plant named Syzgium aromaticum and are dark brown, pungent and nail shaped. Flies hate the subtle scent of cloves, so the little spice will make your life a whole lot easier.

Herbs roasting on an open fire

Adding a handful or so of herbs to your burning coals will give your food a little extra kick as it cooks. Some of the best herbs to use are basil, bay, blackcurrant, fennel, rosemary, sage, sweet cicely and blends such as thyme and mint to get that subtle herby hue.

Soak those skewers

Leaving your skewers to soak in water for 20 minutes before barbecuing will stop them from burning too badly, so you can still have all the fun of eating a kebab.

Marinate!

There’s nothing better than adding some extra flavour to your meat. Steve’s Quality Meats (Butcher) at Longton Exchange has a great range of ready-marinated BBQ fillets and skewers to save you a job!

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